Ryan attains tough target
Athlete eligible for Ireland
Adamstown AC's Ryan Carthy-Walsh demonstrated composure, skill and outstanding talent in the high jump to achieve the qualification standard, set by Athletics Ireland, for the European Youth Olympic Festival which will be held in Tbilisi, Georgia next July.
Representing Good Counsel College, New Ross at the Leinster Schools track and field championships in Morton Stadium, Ryan took a leap of two metres, three cm. in the Intermediate boys' high jump, making himself eligible for selection to Team Ireland.
He also won gold and will go on to compete in the All-Ireland Schools championships later in the month, just before sitting his Junior Cert. in June. While in Santry, he also made an attempt to break the Leinster Schools record of 2.04m, but one achievement of magnitude was enough on the day, with a knock of the bar on 2.05m.
Since setting a championship-best performance and personal best in the Under-17 high jump at the National Indoor Championships in March with 1.98m, Ryan has had his heights set on the 2.03m requirement set out by the high performance unit of Athletics Ireland. To date there are only ten other Irish athletes who have made a standard for this elite competition, with just four weeks left before the eligibility window closes.
In his recent victory at the Leevale Open Sports, the 15-year-old had also made an attempt at the standard, in what was his first Senior grade competition, but fell slightly short of achieving the jump on that occasion.
Confident that Ryan would achieve the golden jump, his coaching team of Marie Mooney (Adamstown), Nicky Cowman (St. Killian's) and Bríd Golden (Ferrybank) had been concentrating on a steady progression from his competition P.B. towards the standard.
A professional approach has been taken, both from a technical skills and organisational point of view to achieve the goal.
The 2.03m jump in Santry is currently a season's best outdoors in the high jump by an Irish athlete on Irish soil. The only two higher jumps by Irish athletes outdoors this year were in Brisbane (Liam Zamel-Paez, 2.20m) and at the University Championships in Belfast (Barry Pender, 2.10m).
The next steps for the young jumper, whose great-grandfather was a founding member and the first club Chairman of Adamstown A.C. 60 years ago, include defence of his Irish Schools title, the Leinster outdoor championships, and on from there.
Also a national champion in the triple jump, Ryan will await the Athletics Ireland High Performance committee meeting towards the latter half of June to see if his consistent progress and achievement of the standard will earn him a deserved international call-up in the Irish colours for Georgia.
He has the potential to be a medal contender for Ireland at the EYOF, of that there is no doubt based on previous years' standards. Selection however is not automatic, and will all depend on the number of rising stars who make the standards, whether Ireland decides to send relay teams, the consistency of all the performances and of course a number of other internal factors that the Olympic Council and A.A.I. must consider, budget not being the least.
Two years ago Annie Stafford (Menapians) did Wexford proud when she made it to the final of the long jump in this bi-annual event.
We can only hope that Wexford will be once again represented on Team Ireland at the top showcase of Europe's emerging young talent.